MILTON — The City Council and city staff have continued discussions about opening the Guy Thompson Community Center on weekends, but still have some concerns.
At the Sept. 5 Executive Committee meeting, the council revisited the topic that was brought up at last month’s Committee of the Whole meeting. A Milton resident asked the council to consider opening the community center on Saturdays and Sundays for use by various groups.
According to City Manager Brian Watkins, he feels it is necessary to have a paid staff member on duty at all times while the community center is open. The city staff is still researching the best option and needs to ask the staff members what they think is best.
Councilman Jeff Snow said that opening the center on weekends may be a good idea, but mostly for local children. According to Snow, kids have nowhere to go in Milton to participate in activities and they are regularly kicked out of the gym in the community center because of senior activities.
Councilwoman Sharon Holley agreed with Snow and said that five days of the week are for seniors; its time to focus on youths, she said. Councilwoman Mary Ellen Johnson, who oversees the community’s youth council, also agreed and said the youth council has several ideas ranging from arts and crafts classes to dances that they would like to hold in the community center.
Holley asked Watkins if the groups could use the Imogene Theatre to hold their meetings or practices instead of using city money to pay staffers seven days a week. Watkins said the groups who will use the facility during the weekend will pay $25 per hour, which will cover the cost of staffing; however, they would need to talk to the Santa Rosa Historical Society if they wanted to suggest using the theatre.
Councilman Casey Powell suggested that, if the city goes through with this, they do it progressively and not have the community center open all weekend, every weekend, all at once. Powell suggested continuing the discussion and exploring more options.
Snow made the motion to continue the discussion in the October Committee of the Whole meeting. Johnson seconded the motion and the motion passed with all council members in favor. Ashley Lay, Peggi Smith and Mayor Wesley Meiss were absent from the meeting.